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If holidays are accruing faster than your employees have time to take them, what are your options?

Here are our thoughts:

  • The government have allowed workers to carry over up to four weeks’ holiday into the next two holiday years if the reason they’ve not been able to take them is due to coronavirus. That means carry over is possible if your business has been so busy since March there hasn’t been the time to take holidays or employees have been furloughed and haven’t taken the holiday for example;
  • You have the option to require employees to take holidays (by giving them twice as much notice as the holiday you require them to take) so if there’s still time in the year to require that they take holidays (perhaps if you’re expecting a slowdown) you may at least be able to reduce the accruing holiday liability;
  • If you’re making redundancies then you’re able to ask employees to take holiday during notice periods again by giving twice as much notice as the holiday you require them to take (saving on lumpy holiday payments at a time when the individual may otherwise have been fairly unproductive);
  • If you already have a generous holiday scheme which is adding to your holiday woes you could always buy back holidays (provided that in doing so you don’t take the employee below statutory minimum holidays of 5.6 weeks);
  • Although the flexible furlough scheme can’t be used solely to fund employee’s holidays, if the employee is already furloughed there is nothing wrong in ensuring employees are still taking holidays (and you can use the furlough scheme to fund them in part).

Don’t forget that however busy you are as well as holidays giving employees the opportunity to recharge, they are a health and safety requirement under the Working Time Regulations so regular holiday reminders continue to remain important.

 This update is accurate on the date it was sent (25 August 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

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